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Organized Gardening

SOURCE: <<GO>> Blog
by: GOAdmin 05-20-2010 8:39AM

Now that you’ve accepted the challenge to get organized in 2010, and you’re finding that you like how it feels, let’s take one more step: organizing your garden. It may sound a little strange at first, but trust us—the tips below can bring a little more order into your flower and vegetable gardens to help make your gardening a bit more rewarding.

Keep a garden notebook
Use a notebook or binder to keep a record of everything in your garden.
• Paste your empty seed packets in it so you’ll always know what variety of tomato you're growing.
• Put pictures of your garden in the binder and track the changes from year to year.
• Use photos to document your bulb beds, so you’ll know what's there when you’re ready to add more in the fall.
• Keep tip sheets from nurseries, extension services, or garden centers, so you can find them when you need them.

Keep tools close
Hang hooks on your shed or fence for the tools you access most. You may even want to place a storage box or bench near your garden so you can keep your tools close to your work.

Create a tool caddy
Use a small sturdy container as a mini gardening center you can tote with you—complete with a portable trash bin, kneepads, and tools you frequently use.

Keep an idea file
Have you ever noticed that your garden is never quite finished? There’s always an interesting new idea to try. Plan for change by tracking what you’re doing now and keeping ideas of what you might like to do later. Download articles from the Internet, scan your seed packets, perennial description tags, and favorite photos from gardening magazines and store them in a file on your computer. Save anything you find that you would like to try in your own garden in your idea file. You’ll be glad you did when it comes time to do that next big garden project.

Give your gardens a focal point
Place an ornamental tree, a large rock, a birdbath, or some other interesting element in your flowerbed as a focal point. This will give your whole yard a greater sense of order. 

Involve your kids
Gardening is a rewarding way to teach children the importance of growing and eating fresh food. Their participation will also give them a sense of responsibility. Give them regular assignments so they can feel like they’re contributing to the family, and work with them as they do their chores. Take some time to teach them the benefits of regular weeding and watering, and explain how plants work (think about it: the next time their teacher starts talking about photosynthesis, your kids will already be a step ahead). Later when you’re enjoying that delicious food, be sure to compliment your kids and thank them for their help. They’ll develop a sense of accomplishment as they realize they helped grow most of their meal.

Protect Your Container Gardens
If you have container gardens filled with soft fertile soil perfect for growing hearty vegetables, you’ve probably noticed that neighborhood cats and perhaps other animals like them too. Here are a couple of ideas to help protect your container gardens:
• Break sticks and poke them into your soil at five-inch intervals with the sharp end upward. This generally discourages digging.
• Dump an entire can of ground black pepper into each grow box. The tingle in their noses is usually enough to convince them to find another place to do their thing. (Don’t use hot pepper like crushed red pepper or cayenne pepper as it will get in their eyes and cause severe damage.)
• Never use mothballs in your garden. They may actually be detrimental to your health. Instead, add citrus peels or coffee grounds to your garden. They’re perfectly safe and cats don’t like the smell.

With so many different ways to garden, and so many organizing options, we’ve barely scratched the surface of organized gardening. Hopefully we’ve given you a starting point. Do you have any particular ways that you keep your garden organized? We'd love to hear about them in the comments.

Thanks, and happy organizing!